A Differentiated Leader

The views expressed on the CTE Educator website, blogs and posts are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Greater Johnstown School District, the Greater Johnstown School District Board of Directors, or Administration.

A Differentiated Leader

Effective leadership is the emotional process of regulating one’s own anxiety. Keeping our focus on our ‘Why‘, We need to distance ourselves from our emotions, and others that will try to ‘triangle’ us into unwelcome situations. ‘Triangling’ reminds me of advice that I was given by one of my high school teachers when I started working. He said to “beware of those that try to befriend you right away. They are the trouble makers, and disenchanted looking to get others on their ‘side’. They don’t care if they hurt you. Watch for those that wait for you to prove yourself before they approach you, they’re the people you want to get to know.” These people can be toxic to yourself, your team, and your change efforts. Emotional Triangles are hard to avoid, as people never stop trying to get people on ‘their’ side.

By regulating and controlling our responses, we can maintain control of the situation. We have to remember that with leadership positions, people complain to us in person and behind our backs. Every mature manager understands that this comes with the responsibility of management and making decisions that affect others. We cannot take it personally as we lead on our innovation plan, most times people are venting, not making active attempts at sabotage. Always remember to keep your self control, keep focused on the goal, not the now, and remember to stay focused on our wildly important goals, lead measures, and scorecard as we implement our 6 sources of influence using our 4 disciplines of execution. When confronted with active attempts at sabotage, we need to stay calm, in control, and stick to facts not feelings. While sabotage is a vindication of our leadership, it also requires bluntly calling out the saboteurs and working through the issues. If someone is a saboteur as a result of lack of training or confidence, we can correct these deficiencies. Someone who sabotages out of resistance to any change, (we know some of these people), are harder to deal with. By holding people accountable at meetings, we call these people out in front of their peers.

A self differentiated leader acts as the emotional immune system of an organization by not allowing panic, negativity, gossip, anxiety, and more to have an affect on them, their team, and others around them. By refusing to fall for ‘Triangling’, panic, and other’s anxiety, we lead through example. From my post, you can see that I believe significantly focusing my change strategy with differentiated leadership is going to be the most effective strategy. While expecting an uphill battle initially, I believe it more from change ‘burnout’, than active sabotage. As Chris McChesney states, “People are not lazy or stupid, they are busy”, (McChesney 2012).

FranklinCovey, 2012
Friedman’s Theory of Differentiated Leadership Made Simple
Link to my Innovation Plan.


McChesney, C., Covey, S., & Huling, J. (2012). “4 Disciplines of Execution”. Simon & Schuster.

Grenny, Patterson, Maxfield, McMillan, and Switzler, 2013. “Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change – Second Edition” McGraw-Hill Education. Kindle Edition

McChesney, (2012). “Goal Setting” video. FranklinCovey Institute. retrieved from Youtube, 5-8-2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbUy290KbTA&t=24s